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A great start to the new year

Kukri North West Counties Division 3

Heysham Atoms 38 points
vs
Pilkington Recs 14 points


Although the Christmas break had been longer than usual The Atoms started their 2011 campaign where they finished off in 2010 with an excellent victory away in St.Helens. Pilkington Recs turned The Atoms over quite convincingly at the Trimpell earlier in the season so the Atoms prepared well for what was to be a tough encounter.

On a better than expected playing surface The Atoms started like a runaway train and never really looked back. The first set of six usually sets the tone for the game and The Atoms had first use of the ball. The forwards smashed their way up field with McVernon and Liam Hall well to the fore. It only took one more set to unlock the Pilks defense. Billy Livingstone ran the ball on the last and looked to have been stopped short of the line. Before the tackle was complete he had offloaded to Liam Hall who is just unplayable with the line insight. He pounded his way over for an ideal Atoms start.

Forward dominance in the middle of the park continued for The Atoms allowing lively hooker Mike Marrin a virtual arm chair ride picking up runners at will. Dave Mcvernon increased the lead running onto Andy Helme a short pass, behind the play the ball taking The Atoms into a deserved 12 - nil lead.
Pilkington have quietly worked their way to 3rd in the league since their promotion last season favoring an open passing game to a 'bash' down the middle. They showed their intentions with two well worked tries, one on either wing showing good hands.

The Atoms buckled down again to the hard graft and with Craig Dixon and Callum Hall in perpetual motion The Atoms were constantly on the front foot.
As the half closed The Atoms were awarded a scrum in their own half. Billy Livingstone favored a kick and chase on the first tackle. Jake Harrison won the foot race to the touch down giving The Atoms a comfortable 16-8 lead.

The elements favored the St. Helens team in the second period so The Atoms stole themselves for some serious pressure on their line. This pressure was relieved almost immediately when in form centre Al Crookal crashed over for his first try of the contest.

The momentum of a rampant pack was maintained and Dave McVernon scored his 2nd try with the try of the game. Left centre Stuart Lacey came more and more into the game in the second half and made a break down the left wing. He off loaded to hooker Marrin who in turn found McVernon with a similar play. McVernon rounded the full back and went under the sticks.

The game was almost over as a contest when Al Crookal switched his dangerous running from the right to the left channel. He split two defenders and went over close to the corner flag.
At 32-8 The Atoms could be forgiven for taking their foot off the pedal. A sticky 15 minutes spell saw The Atoms having to spend long periods close to their own line. A number of errors and penalties led directly to Pilkingtons 3rd try again out wide on the left. Once captain Craig Dixon had reaffirmed his authority it was normal service once again for The Atoms team.

An outstanding cover tackle from Gavin Winder and Callum Hall prevented further points being leaked before man of the match Billy Livingstone carved an opening for himself taking 3 tacklers over the line with him as The Atoms posted their 7th try.

The Atoms can now look forward to two home games on the bounch against the much fancied Leyland Warriors and Langworthy Reds from Salford.

Next Saturday: Home vs Leyland Warriors - kick off 2pm @ Trimpell ground. All welcome.

Portrait Pools.com Men of the Match:
1. Billy Livingstone
2. Al Crookall
3. Criag Dixon

Heysham Atoms: J Harrison, G Winder, A Crookall, S Lacey, M Pike, B Livingstone, A Helme, L Hall, M Marrin, D McVernon, C Dixon(Capt.), D Ginocchio, M Walker, RES. C Hall, C Helme, S Weed, N Walker.


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